By Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
OAKLAND COUNTY – Earlier this month the online newsletter of the Michigan Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT Republican organization, called on LGBT and other fair-minded Republicans to register to run as precinct delegates to the Republican Party’s August convention.
Precinct delegates will decide upon several candidacies during the convention, among them that of the possible candidacy for Michigan Board of Education of the virulently anti-gay former Oakland County Commissioner Tom McMillin. In addition, precinct delegates write the county and state party platforms, according to Log Cabin Vice President of Political Activity Noel Siksai.
According to Chapter President Greg Wright, “Delegates impact county level officer selection and decide how much support different candidates get before and to some extent after the primary.”
Siksai said that it’s important to counter the efforts of religious extremists who started to infiltrate both parties at the precinct level beginning in the 1980s.
“That’s why we have the candidates we have and the legislation we have now,” he said. “These precinct delegates are the ones who do go out and vote and influence other members in the precinct.”
“We’re trying to bring some more fair-mindedness back into the party,” Siksai added.
“We need people to step up as Republicans to do the right thing and help us protect our party,” it says in the LCR newsletter, which was written by Oakland Party Republican volunteer Christopher M. Cummins.
In the Republican Party, “Everything originates at the grassroots,” Siksai said. “What happens at the counties gets filtered up to the state and national levels. This is why we need to counter the radical right wing so that we can get various things that are anti-gay removed from the party platforms.”
Unfortunately, Siksai said, the Log Cabin Republicans failed to make their online call to arms private, “So now, this is a battle.”
In a March 15 email to supporters that was forwarded to BTL, McMillin called the Log Cabin Republicans “a radical group” and accused the organization of attempting to “elimiate [sic] the GOP’s core pro-family values.”
“Moving the GOP to oppose traditional marriage and toward support for such things as homosexual adoption and hate crimes that would put Christians in jail for their beliefs, would mean the end of the GOP,” says the McMillin email. The email does not explain why hate crime laws, which protect victims of bias-based violence, “would put Christians in jail for their beliefs.”
Siksai called McMillin’s response to the Log Cabin effort “interesting.”
“He’s had a target on the backs of LGBT people all these years – now there’s a target on his back and he turns into a cry baby,” Siksai said.
Siksai said that there are several empty precincts in cities including Troy, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Madison Heights and Berkley.
“Anywhere we don’t have someone running you can bet he’s [McMillin’s] going to pack ’em,” Siksai said.
To become involved in the Log Cabin Republican’s efforts to balance the impact of religious extremists on the Oakland County and Michigan party by running as a precinct delegate, contact Siksai at 248-321-5684 or email [email protected].